These days I try to stay away from auctions. A nervous twitch, itchy nose, or unexplained wink could be misconstrued as either a flirtatious gesture towards the auctioneer, or more than likely a bid. For me it would be just a nervous twitch, itchy nose, or an annoying eye lash. However when the lastest catalogue fell through the post I just had to go at least for the viewing. The attraction well that would have to be the 50 odd lots that came from the estate of Doug Johnson, or more specifically one of his motorcycles that was on offer. I had known Doug since 1979 and found him to be a charismatic individual who was well informed on most things motorcycling who could quite easily upset people by speaking his mind. Sadly Doug passed away at the beginning of last year whilst mowing his lawns and now his motorcycle collection was up for sale. The motorcycle that I was interested in was a bike that I had rebuilt as a 14 year old to get my licence on. In ‘those days’ you could get your licence on a 350, in fact on any thing as long as you could ride. I obtained my Provisional Licence on a Thursday (one day after my 15th birthday), and completed the road test successfully one week later to gain a full licence. I was now a competent motorcyclist and knew everything about motorcycling, or so I thought. Nothing was going to stand in my way, except a few drains, slippery roads, 3 engine fires, and a policeman who gave me a warning for speeding 2 days after getting my provisional licence. So with the possibility of buying back my first motorcycle ( and how many chances does one get to do that?) I had to at least see if it was my old bike. Armed with a good memory, a copy of the papers from when I first re-registered it to go back on the road, and the original registration papers from when it was brand new (I throw nothing away) off I went.
The auction venue was, as it has been in the past, at Shed 5 in Auckland central. However this time it was scheduled to be held on a more respectable Saturday afternoon from 2pm (respectable for me anyway) instead of the previous mid week evening auctions starting at 6pm. A good crowd was present, not too sure if they were all interested in bidding or just regarded it as a good afternoons outing. With Doug Johnsons interest in pre war, classic, and early japanese motorcycles covering over half the auction lots there probably was something for every one on offer.
Doug prized his pre war BSAs and it was these bikes that were the main attraction, as well as his incomplete projects and box lots of spare parts. Additional attractions were the 1915 Quirks Mona requiring a full restoration. A very rare Australian built motorcycle with all the major bits there this one also came with ½ another bike for parts. Yet another BSA Sloper up on offer, a very nicely restored 1929 Triumph Horsman 500cc TT Model, and Doug Johnsons 1938 Excelsior Warrior. Most of the parts and project bikes sold, with some buyers going away with some bargains. Few of the complete bikes sold on the day but were conditional so negotiation on these would continue after the auction closed with the highest bidder.
Looks like a photograph from a 1950s motorcycle shop.
Coventry Eagle A unique 2 stroke and great little project.
Dougs handsome English Excelsior Warrior.
The Quirks Mona.
American Excelsior Big X and Sidecar.
And others of interest.
I didn’t stay to the end but noted down prices from auction lots that may be of interest to those who wished that they had gone.
|Lot #||Year||Description||Condition Restored/Unrestored||Estimated Value||Auction Price||Comment|
|1||BSA Period Race Bike||As raced||$1500~$2500||$3800||Sold|
|2||1949||Royal Enfield 350cc OHV Model G Rigid||Older Restoration||3K~5K||2K||A good buy.|
|3||——||Royal Enfield 350 Parts||$50~$100||$25.00||Sold|
|7||Pre War BSA Motor no internals||$100~$200||$650||Sold|
|16||BSA Gear Box Internals||$100~$200||$200||Sold|
|20||BSA Chain Cases||$200~$300||$50||Sold|
|24||Box of Magnetos and Generators||$400~$600||$200||Sold|
|26||Albion Gearbox||$800~$1000||$400||Not Sold|
|33||Girder Fork Blades||$300~$600||$400||Sold|
|39||5 BSA Frames not complete||$400~$800||$400||Sold|
|40||BSA Custom Motorcycle||$1000~$2000||$1200||A very good buy|
|41||Coventry Eagle Not Complete||$1000~$1500||$600||Sold|
|42||Pre War BSA 250 Not Complete||$1500~$2500||$800||A very good buy|
|49||1934 Royal Enfield 250 sv Sloper Engine and 1938 Frame||$400~$800||$200||Conditional|
|62||1915||Quirks Mona||Unrestored In Parts||$15K~$30K||$13000||Conditional|
|63||1915||Excelsior Big x and Sidecar||Restored||$68K~$88K||$61000||Conditional|
|65||1917||Merkel Motor Wheel||Restored||$8K~$12K||$5000||Conditional|
|69||1938||Excelsior Warrior G9||Older Restoration||$10K~$20K||$7500||Conditional|
|72||1941||Indian Scout 741||Restored||$19K~$25K||$16000||Conditional|
|75||1951||Sunbeam S7 Deluxe and Sidecar||Restored||$12K~$17K||$16000||Sold|
|77||1955||Universal B50 Meteor Supercharged||Restored||$15K~$20K||$13000||Conditional|
|81||1960s||BSA 350 Race Bike Girder Special||Modified Special||$2K~$3K||$2500||Sold|
All prices are exclusive of the buyers premium of 15% and GST of 15% on the premium.
And was I successful in bidding for my old bike? Yes I was. The only problem was slipping it into the garage under the cover of darkness so Mrs McSnoopy doesn’t discover it too soon. Meanwhile I will be practicing my skilful reply when she finally does see it and asks how long have we owned that one for? Things are jam packed away in my shed so hopefully that question will be at least be a couple of years away!